‘Indianapolis Jones’ rides again in Off Broadway Theatre Co. productionJun 02, 2023 10:31AM ● By Katherine Weinstein
Pip (Alina Hartvigsen) and Shortcake (Bentley Andersen) point out danger to Indianapolis Jones (Kasey Capanna) in the original Off Broadway Theatre Co. production, “Indianapolis Jones.” (Photo courtesy of Off Broadway Theatre Co.)
Just in time for the latest installment of the “Indiana Jones” franchise in movie theaters, Off Broadway Theatre Co. will present “Indianapolis Jones” on the stage of Draper Historic Theatre June 2 through 24. The original musical comedy send-up of blockbuster action movies promises an evening of family-friendly fun.
Director Tonya Huso explained that “Indianapolis Jones” parodies other roles Harrison Ford is known for as well as other Hollywood action franchises. In the show, “Indianapolis Jones is trying to find Pandora’s Box before the Nazis do. He is helped and hindered by his nemesis/love interest Karla Kroft, a spoof of [‘Tomb Raider’] Lara Croft,” Huso said.
As the show is double-cast, Kelly Bellis is one of the actors who plays Karla Kroft. “Karla is just funny, just a silly character,” Bellis said. “In the movies, Lara Croft is very serious. In this show, Karla finds a voodoo doll and gives it a wedgie. It’s just fun!”
Along the way, Indianapolis is helped by his friends Marko and Caesar Salade as well as his kid-sidekicks, Pip and Shortcake.
Ten-year-old Bentley Andersen is enjoying her role as Shortcake. “I like making people laugh,” she said. “Indianapolis Jones” is Bentley Andersen’s fourth show with Off Broadway Theatre Co. She has been practicing her lines at home and on the way to school with her dad, Brett Andersen, one of two actors who plays Indianapolis Jones himself.
“I absolutely love it because of the different ways Indy is able to interact with all the characters in the show. You get to be the butt of a lot of jokes,” he said. “In a part like this you want to pay homage to the original but also make fun of it.”
Brett Andersen has performed locally in other plays and musicals but is relishing the improv comedy that Off Broadway Theatre Co. is known for. “Indianapolis Jones” has a script, but the actors are encouraged to take the comic action in spontaneous new directions.
“Improv is a blast to perform,” Brett Andersen said. “You feed off the audience and each other and get laughs at the expense of yourself.”
The villains in “Indianapolis Jones” have a comical twist as well. The Nazis, for example, are akin to the inept Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz from the classic TV show “Hogan’s Heroes.” Sabrina Jewell and Aimee McPhie play two of the Nazis, Herzog and Zippel. “We do our best but we’re not the brightest,” Jewell explained. The actors also play the “sisters” who welcome visitors to the Temple of Gloom in a gentle send-up of Utah culture.
Off Broadway Theatre Co. co-founder Eric Jensen appears in “Indianapolis Jones” as Indy’s bumbling father and as the goofball shaman, Whodaman. “As a child, I loved ‘Indiana Jones,’” he said. “It is just such an action-packed show.”
Jensen wrote the script as an homage to all the “Indiana Jones” films. “It’s really challenging to come up with a show that will mimic an action movie,” he explained.
“We want to capture the feeling of the ‘Indiana Jones’ ride at Disneyland and the adventure sequences in the movies,” Huso added.
To accomplish this within the small confines of the Draper Historic Theatre stage is no small feat, but Jensen and the production team have embraced the challenge. The show includes scenes that take place in a cave, a classroom, a mining camp, a boat and more. An “Indiana Jones” parody also requires a giant rolling boulder of course.
“It comes together as a lot of scenery that has to go on stage and be taken down quickly,” Jensen explained. The scenery includes many painted “flats” and set pieces that can be collapsed and moved easily. The production also involves the creative use of projected images.
“This show will be a fantastic way to kick-off your summer with some laughs,” Brett Andersen said. “It’s a fun adventure.”
Off Broadway Theatre Co. presents "Indianapolis Jones” on the stage of Draper Historic Theatre. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Draper Historic Theatre is located at 12366 S. 900 East. For tickets, visit theobt.org. λ